Bobcat fire grows to 91,000 acres as buildings burn, evacuation orders expand

 pe.com  09/19/2020 23:12:58   Nathaniel Percy | npercy@scng.com, Hayley Munguia | hmunguia@scng.com and Emily Rasmussen | erasmussen@scng.com | Daily Breeze

The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest grew to 91,000 acres Saturday and forced more evacuation orders in the Antelope Valley foothills, where it left homes and other property destroyed.

Crews remained focused on the northern edge, hoping to slow the wildfire’s spread. The job may get tougher by evening; they could be facing wind gusts of up to 30 miles an hour.

Officials expanded evacuation orders for residents in the foothills north of the fire, including the area south of 138th Street East, north of Big Pine Highway and Highway 2, west of 263rd Street East and east of Largo Vista Road.

They also issued evacuation warnings for south of Pearblossom Highway, northeast of Angeles Forest, northwest of Mt. Emma, southeast of Highway 122 and west of Cheseboro Road.

Forest officials said protecting Wrightwood from the fire was a priority Saturday. The resort community, a popular spot for nearby hiking, camping, fishing and, in the winter, skiing, was keeping an eye on updates while under evacuation warning.

Wrightwood resident Cody Siqueido Young began to see smoke drifting over his Wrightwood home at about 2 p.m. Saturday, as the winds continued pushing fire and smoke to the east.

Most residents remained at home, he said, though he saw some folks hook trailers up and get packed so they could leave at a moments notice.

Theyve dealt with brushfires in the past, most recently the Blue Cut Fire in 2016, which burned to within 100 feet of homes in town, Young said.

Once it starts getting to Big Pines Highway and Highway 2, closer to Mountain High (Ski Resort), thats when youll probably see this town start to evacuate, he said.

The blaze, driven by wind, grew by more than 31,000 acres on Friday.

The wildfire, started Sept. 6, spread significantly overnight, reaching 91,017 acres by 7 a.m. Saturday. The fire remained 15% contained, mostly on the southern edge.

Containment is the percentage of the perimeter where the fire wont expand beyond.

  • Frank Kenton looks over the remains of buildings that burnt during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Kenton has lived on his 10 acres for 17 years. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • DC 10 Air tanker makes a phos chek during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

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  • A Joshua tree goes up in flames Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as the Bobcat fire moves west into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Mike Meadows/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Property for sale sign stills stand over burned out land along Cima Mesa Road after the Bobcat Fire sweep through in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • As part of an Los Angeles City fire strike team, Engine 88 sets up in front of a home in the Juniper Hills area on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as a wall of fire descends on the area. Los Angeles city firefighters managed to save the home. (Photo by Mike Meadows/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Firefighters work to protect a home as a tanker makes a phos chek drop high on a hill during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • The Bobcat fire burns a home on Juniper Hills Road in the Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Mike Meadows/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The remains of fire retardant dropped by air tankers is seen Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, on Juniper Hills Road as the Bobcat fire moves west into the Antelope Valley, where between 15 and 20 homes were destroyed. (Photo by Mike Meadows/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire destroys a home Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, on Juniper Hills Road in the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Mike Meadows/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A home sits undamaged along Cima Mesa Road after the Bobcat Fire sweep through in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Burned landscape during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A home sits undamaged along Cima Mesa Road after the Bobcat Fire sweep through in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • One of home owner Frank Kenton destroyed buildings on his property that was burned down during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Kenton has lived on his 10 acres for 17 years. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Frank Kenton with his dog Clyde looks over the remains of buildings that burnt during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Kenton has lived on his 10 acres for 17 years. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Burnt garage on the property of Frank Kenton along with other buildings during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Kenton has lived on his 10 acres for 17 years. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • 8 year-old CJ Kenton buries a rabbit that had died in the fire in front of burned out structures of his grandfather Frank Kenton during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A burnt car on the property of Frank Kenton along with buildings during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Kenton has lived on his 10 acres for 17 years. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Burnt garage on the property of Frank Kenton along with buildings during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Kenton has lived on his 10 acres for 17 years. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Frank Kenton with his dog Clyde looks over the remains of buildings that burnt during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Kenton has lived on his 10 acres for 17 years. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Burned out bbq and char along with structures that Frank Kenton lost during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • 8 year-old CJ Kenton hugs Clyde the family dog in front of burned out structures that his grandfather Frank Kenton lost during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A burnt out boat on the property of Frank Kenton along with buildings during the Bobcat Fire last night in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Kenton has lived on his 10 acres for 17 years. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A firefighter attacks the flames while a home burns Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Bobcat fire as it tears through the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A firefighter attacks the flames while a home burns Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Bobcat fire as it tears through the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters move toward the Bobcat fire Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as it burns into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A helicopter makes a drop on the Bobcat fire as it burns into the Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Firefighters battle the Bobcat fire as it burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • LA County firefighters attack the flames while a home burns Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Bobcat fire as it tears through the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A firefighter hits hot spots Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as the Bobcat fire made its way into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A firefighter hits hot spots Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as the Bobcat fire made its way into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A firefighter attacks the flames while a home burns Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Bobcat fire as it tears through the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Firefighters head toward a burning home as the Bobcat fire tears into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A home goes up in flames as the Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Firefighters attack the flames while a home burns Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Bobcat fire as it tears through the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A home goes up in flames as the Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters move toward the Bobcat fire Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as it burns into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns into Antelope Valley on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters hold back the flames to save homes early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, from the Bobcat fire as it spreads into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters hold back the flames to save homes early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, from the Bobcat fire as it spreads into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters hold back the flames to save homes early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, from the Bobcat fire as it spreads into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters hold back the flames to save homes early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, from the Bobcat fire as it spreads into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A home in the Juniper Hills area burns late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as the Bobcat fire spreads into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Flames shoot as high as utility poles in the Juniper Hills area as the Bobcat fire burns into the Antelope Valley area late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters hold back the flames to save homes early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, from the Bobcat fire as it spreads into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters hold back the flames to save homes early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, from the Bobcat fire as it spreads into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters hold back the flames to save homes early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, from the Bobcat fire as it spreads into the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire destroys a structure late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper HIlls area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A fire helicopters makes a water drops on the Bobcat fire late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 in the Juniper Hills area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat Fire burns into the Antelope Valley late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire melted the front of this pickup truck late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 in the Juniper Hills area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat Fire burns into the Antelope Valley late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Winds blows flying embers from a burning tree early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, as the Bobcat fire burns in Juniper Hills. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns Joshua trees in the Juniper Hills area early Saturday, Sept. 19,2020. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A burning power pole blocks the road Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as the Bobcat fire makes its way through the Juniper Hills area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Winds blows flying embers from a burning tree early Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, as the Bobcat fire burns in Juniper Hills. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire burns along the San Andreas fault line late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper Hills area. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A American flag blows in the wind late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as the Bobcat Fire burns into the Juniper Hills area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire destroys a home late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper HIlls area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire destroys a home late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper HIlls area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire glows late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper Hills area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire destroys a home late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper HIlls area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire destroys a home late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper HIlls area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire destroys a home late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper HIlls area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • The Bobcat fire destroys a home late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper HIlls area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Los Angeles County firefighters battle the Bobcat fire late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in the Juniper Hills area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • A fire helicopter makes a water drop on the Bobcat fire late Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, as the blaze spreads into the Juniper Hills area of the Antelope Valley. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Firefighters work to protect a home as a tanker makes a phos chek drop high on a hill during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • People stop to take pictures along the road during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A tanker flies away after making a phos chek drop high on a hill during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Firefighters work to protect a home high on a hill during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Sikorsky Firehawk helicopter prepares to make a water drop during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills on Saturday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Stephanie Poirier, 39, has lived in Wrightwood for two years after moving from Las Vegas. She said Saturday the experience was “all new and terrifying. Yesterday was worse because the fire was moving a lot.”

The wind Saturday was more calm than on Friday and there was blue sky overhead, but that could change quickly, she said.

Still, additional measures were being put in place near Mountain High in case the fire got closer, Poirier said.

“They’ve been using the snow cannons that they use for fake snow to wet down property and buildings, but also to try and raise the humidity,” she said.

The concern in Wrightwood came a day after strong winds, gusting as high as 55 miles per hour, pushed the fire north into Juniper Hills Friday, where structures were threatened and burned, forest officials said.

The number of homes damaged or destroyed was not immediately available.

“Juniper Hills took the brunt of it,” Sky Cornell, spokesman with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said Saturday morning. He said numbers would be released later.

Evacuation orders were expanded in the Antelope Valley on Friday and held in place Saturday. Some residents described a chaotic scene Friday in a community comprised of mostly seniors and plenty of residents with horses and other livestock.

Michael Hermann, in Juniper Hills, said Saturday the fire had boiled, “like lava.” While the firefight has mostly moved on, he said there were still smoldering areas are all around, like little dormant volcanos.

I missed the actual fire in the horse stall, but Michael Hermann, in green, said it was boiling, "like lava." While the firefight has mostly moved on, smoldering areas are all around, like little dormant volcanos, he noted. pic.twitter.com/ZALlsJVObd

— Elizabeth Chou (@reporterliz) September 19, 2020

Frank Kenton, 70, watched the firefighting planes zoom across the sky from his porch in Juniper Hills on Friday.

It suddenly got “really red, like a bomb was going to blow,” he said. “I just took off.”

But the Bobcat fire ended up claiming a big, two-story barn on his property that stored his late nephew’s belongings, and reduced to charred skeletons some exercise equipment and vehicles scattered around his property.

He was glued to the news as he watched from a hotel room. News broadcasted his property, still intact, on the television.

When he considered the damage the next day, he held back a sudden welling of tears.

“It’s just devastating,” he said.

Frank Kenton watched the firefighting planes zoom across the sky from his porch yesterday. It suddenly got "really red, like a bomb was going to blow … I just took off." When he came back, he saw hjs big barn, which held his late nephew's belongings, had burned to the ground. pic.twitter.com/iqsOA5re41

— Elizabeth Chou (@reporterliz) September 19, 2020

Emilia Mavrolas, 24, had stayed at her Juniper Hills home Thursday night despite mandatory evacuation orders, but as the fire approached her community Friday afternoon, she and her family knew they had to leave.

As the hours passed, we saw the embers and glows along the ridge, Mavrolas said. It seemed like everything was fine, but within a few hours it was my friends calling and telling me that their homes were on fire.

Watching the news, their homes are literally on fire, she added. Thats when we just started packing everything.

Her father and uncles had tried to wet down the property and water the roof in hopes it might help spare the home, she said, adding shes lived in Juniper Hills for 15 years.

Mavrolas stayed at a cousins house in Lancaster Friday night and had taken her dog, a Maltese, with her, she said.

The family also has seven desert tortoises, but during the scramble to pack and leave, they were only able to find six, she said.

Hopefully the fire goes away or slows down, so we can find him, Mavrolas said.

Friday was surreal, she said. The family could see the flames in the hills Thursday, but the winds whipped the fire across the ridge and down to Juniper Hills. She said by the time her family left, it was at the range by their home.

She said a voluntary evacuation order in 2008 was the closest the family had been to leaving prior to Friday.

Its just so crazy this fire can tear down my entire hometown, she said.

To the west, fire crews planned to continue to protect Mt. Wilson and Chilao. Strategic firing operations helped secure a fire line between the Ranch 2 fire scar and Highway 39 to the east after a second evacuation order was issued near the San Gabriel Reservoir Friday afternoon, officials said.

More than 1,650 firefighters have joined in the firefight.

Evacuation orders remained in place for the following areas:

  • north of Angeles Crest North and between Clear Creek Station and Highway 39;
  • east of Devils Punch Bowl Road, south of the Big Pines Highway, north of the Big Rock Creek, and west of Jackson Lake;
  • south of Pearblossom Highway, north of Big Pines Hghway, east of 165th and west of Largo Vista Road;
  • north of Fort Tejon Road, south of East Avenue V, east of 87th Street East, west of 121 Street East;
  • south of Avenue 12, north of Aqueduct, west of 165 Street East and east of 121 Street East;
  • south of Fort Tejon Road, north of Cooley Place, east of 89th Street East and west of Longview Road;
  • north of Pallett Creek, south of W. 114th Street, east of Longview Road and west of 165th Street;
  • 96th Street East to 116th Street East/Fort Tejon Road south to Highway 2;
  • 116th Street East to Devils Punchbowl Road/Fort Tejon Road to Highway 2;
  • Devils Punchbowl Road to and including Fenner Camp;
  • Fenner Camp to intersection of Highway 2 and Big Pines;
  • Chilao, the CalTrans Yard, the 3 Points area and Angeles Crest Christian Camp and the Crystal Lake area.

An evacuation center has been set up for Antelope Valley residents at Palmdale High School, 2137 East Avenue R.

On the fire’s southern end, evacuation warnings were lifted as of 4 p.m. for the communities of Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Monrovia, Bradbury and Duarte in the San Gabriel Valley, while the warnings for Altadena and Pasadena remained in effect.

A South Coast Air Quality Management District smoke advisory remained in effect Saturday.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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